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Multi-Function Switch Replacement Cost

Know what price you should pay to get your vehicle fixed.

The average cost for a multi-function switch replacement is between $276 and $305. Labor costs are estimated between $91 and $116 while parts are priced between $185 and $189. Estimate does not include taxes and fees.

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What is a Multi-Function Switch?

Multifunction switches are compact options for auto manufacturers that eliminates the need for several switches, mounts as one unit, and allows control of a multitude of various driver assistance features. For example, a common multifunction switch will control the windshield wipers, headlights, turn signals, high beam lights, parking lamps and cruise control.

How does the Multi-Function Switch work?

Acting as a central hub for operator control of accessory and safety features generally requires the backing of a control module, or a large nest of wires. Luckily, modern vehicles have the body control module, or even a dedicated control module to communicate the signal from all of the switches integrated on the multifunction switch, and actuate the features needed. For much older multifunction switches, the integrated switches were hard-wired to the component controlled, and pressing the switch directly powered that components. For instance, this could be the turn signals, headlights, hazard lights, windshield wipers and washers, or cruise control. Modern vehicles with control modules could be considered indirect in this sense, as the switch only sends a signal to a control module, requesting that the control module cause that function to occur.

What are the symptoms of a bad Multi-Function Switch?

If the multi-function switch fails, the symptoms may cause the driver to believe that something far worse is happening to the vehicle. That is because of the integrated nature of the multi-function switch, when failure occurs, it may be one component will not function, but the switch will likely cause several components to operate simultaneously. An example being turning on the turn signal causing the headlights to flash on and off, or setting the cruise control may cause the brights to flash. These are not guaranteed symptoms, but go to show how the functionality of the multifunction switch can become completely erroneous.

Can I drive with a bad Multi-Function Switch?

When the multifunction switch fails, driving can be risky, as functionality of safety items such as headlights, and turn signals may be unpredictable, intermittent, or confusing to other drivers. Driving a vehicle with a failed or failing multifunction switch is possible, but great caution should be exercised, and the vehicle should be repaired at the earliest opportunity to restore the vehicle to legal and safe operation.

How often do Multi-Function Switches need replacement?

Multi-function switches are reliable in nature, but some manufacturers have issues with their multifunction switch assemblies. Those makes and models with frequent failure tend to need replacements between 60,000 and 80,000 miles. Otherwise multi-function switches should for many years, and typically suffer from degradation rather than poor design.

How are Multi-Function Switch issues diagnosed?

If the symptoms discussed, or similar symptoms occur, the multifunction switch will likely be suspected right away. This can be tested and diagnosed in all vehicles by testing the outputs of the switch when different settings are selected. For instance, if the headlights are turned on, and the windshield wipers come on as well, the switch can be tested to identify of the switch is sending the signal for the windshield washers, or if the control module is at fault. In most instances, the multi-function switch can be tested by removing the steering column trim, and testing outputs for continuity at the electrical connector.

How are Multi-Function Switches replaced?

For some vehicles, replacing the multifunction switch may involve simply removing the steering column cover or trim, disconnecting the electrical connector, and releasing the switch from the steering column by removing fasteners and mounting brackets. Other models will require all of this, but also the air bag, steering wheel, and clock spring (AIR coil) will need to be removed as well. It is important to note that the battery will be disconnected prior to servicing these components.

RepairPal Recommendations for Multi-Function Switch issues

For vehicles with frequent failures, the manufacturer should be consulted concerning possible warranty extensions or recalls. Also, the manufacturer may have updated, improved, or revised the multi-function switch, so purchasing the part through the dealer will ensure that the part is the most recent design, possibly eliminating the need to perform the repair in the near future.

What to look out for when dealing with Multi-Function Switch issues

When servicing the steering column, be aware that the airbag (SRS system) wiring harness runs along the steering column as well. Disturbing the air bag and harness without proper knowledge may cause SRS system faults, unintentional airbag deployment, or physical harm as a result.

Can I replace the Multifunction Switch myself?

If the multifunction switch being replaced does not require removing the airbag and steering wheel, this repair can be accomplished by most people. However, when airbag and steering wheel removal are necessary, it is not recommended unless proper precautions are taken and the repair is completely understood. In most cases, it is best to leave airbag removal to a professional technician.

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